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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richter revealed
A very thoroughly researched book...I have been studying material on Great Richter for many years and reading many interviews with him and and people close to him including a lot of material in Russian never published in the West and there were a lot of surprises even for me. The author translates many parts of Russian interviews and includes both musical details and...
Published on 13 Feb 2012 by smoky

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe an impossible task
There have been many pianists who have been showmen, reclusives and eccentrics. There are even more who have been ,or who are, technically brilliant. But there are only a few who have been regarded by other musicians as possessing insights and capabilities that put them almost beyond criticism and into the pantheon. From the time that his first recordings began appearing...
Published on 12 Mar 2011 by paladin


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richter revealed, 13 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Sviatoslav Richter (Hardcover)
A very thoroughly researched book...I have been studying material on Great Richter for many years and reading many interviews with him and and people close to him including a lot of material in Russian never published in the West and there were a lot of surprises even for me. The author translates many parts of Russian interviews and includes both musical details and important facts from Richter's private life.
A must for anybody interested to know more not only about Richter but about whole period of Soviet life and art and the effect political regime had on it's artists and their freedom.
Strongly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe an impossible task, 12 Mar 2011
This review is from: Sviatoslav Richter (Hardcover)
There have been many pianists who have been showmen, reclusives and eccentrics. There are even more who have been ,or who are, technically brilliant. But there are only a few who have been regarded by other musicians as possessing insights and capabilities that put them almost beyond criticism and into the pantheon. From the time that his first recordings began appearing in the 1950s to his death forty years later Sviotaslav Richter was one of those. This is all the more remarkable given his wide but strange repertoire (he only ever played Beethoven's 3rd of his concertos but he wouldn't play Rachmaninov's 3rd for example) and his sad habit in later life of cancelling performances at short notice, even at his beloved Touraine festival - knowing that admirers had crossed continents to see him. I only saw him play once, in London in the 1980s, and to be frank it was nothing that special. But if you listen to say his DG recording of the Rachmaninov 2nd, the first movement in particular, you are transferred into a sound world of such control yet such raw excitement I have never heard any other pianist match.

I therefore bought this bio with great anticipation, and there are certainly things in it that are revealing - Richter's childhood, his first encoutners with the West, his horror of America, his complaisant dealings with the Soviet authorities ; his 'difficult' relationships with other musicians such as von Karajan, Shostakovitch etc, and indeed people generally; above all to me, his homosexuality. It was part of the pact that he and others made with the authorities that this would be concealed, and the author Rasmussen largely respects that silence. That is fine (although it leaves me to wonder why I, a gay teenager who first listened to Richter in the 60s was so strangely attracted to his playing - he had been a handsome youth as the book's photos show but cared nothing for appearances after! Is there a gay gene in music, even performers? I also liked the music of Tchaikovsky, Tippett and Britten early on and didn't know quite why).
The difficulty is that the book is written largely in a prosaic style, save where the author, as in the introduction indulges in some inappropriate speculations and theorising about celebrity lifestyles etc; and also at several points tells us that it is actually impossible to capture anything as elusive about the character of a pianist! In other words I suspect that the author, who is clearly a great expert, rather lost faith in the point of the book as he wrote it....I think your money is better spent on buying some Richter recordings...!! I also wondered why in this techno-age we can't have books that contain recorded extracts, however brief, that we could listen to as the technical points cannot be communicated by prose alone..
Maybe I am being unkind, as the book has certainly not diminished my admiration for Richter the pianist
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5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest pianist of the 20th century., 8 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Sviatoslav Richter (Hardcover)
Sviatoslav Richter was an unrivalled musical interpreter. The 'sound' he produced from the keyboard is uniquely recognizable and his ability to act as a conduit between the composer and listener is unsurpassed even to this day. His keyboard technique was flawless and knew no limits, but his understanding of the music he played and his ability to communicate this to his audience was nothing less than magical. I expect that few people in the world of pop music would have heard of him, but the musical ability and value of this man compared with modern pop 'stars' is like comparing Mount Everest (Richter) with a mole-hill (insert any name from the modern commercially exploited pop scene you like). His passing in 1996 was a very serious musical loss, but thankfully, we have so many fabulous recordings which he left us to listen to. Finally, he was an enigmatic figure, and his life story hidden in shadow. This book amongst other things, reveals the nature of this quiet and modest tormented genius, and should be read by all serious musicians.
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Sviatoslav Richter
Sviatoslav Richter by Karl Aage Rasmussen (Hardcover - 13 April 2010)
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